Pundit: 29-year-old has finally cracked it at Man United
Garth Crooks heaps praise on Marouane Fellaini for turning around his Manchester United career
Garth Crooks has admitted his surprise that Marouane Fellaini has become such an important player for Manchester United.
The Red Devils midfielder produced another impressive performance in Manchester United’s 4-0 win against the Premier League’s basement club Crystal Palace.
Fellaini scored twice in their emphatic win against the Eagles to help Manchester United keep pace with derby and title rivals Manchester City.
The 29-year-old has already scored three goals in three games in the Premier League this term, while the towering midfielder netted the opener in a 3-0 win against Swiss side Basel in the Champions League last month.
To put Fellaini’s form in context, only summer signing Romelu Lukaku has scored more times in the Premier League this season than the ex Everton star.
Jose Mourinho has regularly emphasised Fellaini’s important role in the Manchester United squad despite the Belgian being a much maligned figure under Louis van Gaal and David Moyes.
Fellaini moved to Manchester United in a £27m deal from Everton in the 2013 summer transfer window under his former Toffees boss Moyes.
Former Tottenham forward Crooks admits he has been surprised by just how dramatically Fellaini has turned around his Manchester United critics.
“To win the endorsement of Manchester United fans takes some doing. Players such as captain Michael Carrick, for example, have had to work especially hard to win the approval of the Old Trafford faithful,” Crooks told BBC Sport.
“In that sense, Red Devils midfielder Marouane Fellaini is in very good company. The Belgium international has found winning their approval particularly difficult since David Moyes signed him from Everton for £27.5min September 2013.
“Nevertheless, to the Belgium international’s credit, he’s stuck at it and, indeed, may have cracked it.
“Against a poor Crystal Palace team, who are low in confidence, Fellaini’s presence was telling and he struck me as a significant player in the United team in a way I hadn’t noticed before. That presence seems to have transferred itself to the United fans, which is probably why they have started to chant his name.
“And nothing gives a player more prominence, and confidence, than when the fans start chanting your name.”